Director: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody,
J.K. Simmons, Johnny Simmons, Chris Pratt, Sal Cortez, Ryan
Levine, Juan Riedinger, Colin Askey
RunTime: 1 hr 42 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual References And Violence)
Official Website: http://www.jennifersbody.com/
Opening Day: 29 October 2009
sexy horror film with a wicked sense of humor, "Jennifer's
Body" is about small town high school student Jennifer (Megan
Fox), who is possessed by a hungry demon. She transitions
from being "high school evil" - gorgeous (and doesn't she
know it), stuck up and ultra-attitudinal - to the real deal:
evil/evil. The glittering beauty becomes a pale and sickly
creature jonesing for a meaty snack, and guys who never stood
a chance with the heartless babe, take on new luster in the
light of Jennifer's insatiable appetite. Meanwhile, Jennifer's
lifelong best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried), long relegated
to living in Jennifer's shadow, must step-up to protect the
town's young men, including her nerdy boyfriend Chip (Johnny
to the world of Diablo Cody.
It is peopled by characters who talk way smarter than they
ought to and spew fusion adjectives (e.g. lesbigay) and abbreviations
(e.g. J.C. for Jesus Christ).
Cody once said she couldn’t 'function in reality'. Her
attempts at writing dialogue reflect just this sort of disconnect
Now, before letting this devolve into a masturbatory exercise
at putting down hip slang wunderkind Cody, let’s get
down to the movie proper.
The good news: Cody’s grating penchant for hip slang
takes a back seat.
The bad news: Cody is less adept when it comes to character
and plot development.
Although amusing, Jennifer’s Body is ultimately unsatisfying
because it bites off more than it can chew. It wants to be
a teen horror but does not provide, ahem, much meat in that
department. The body count is low and the kills are devoid
of suspense and creativity. At best, they’re gorier
versions of those you’ve seen in dramas like Supernatural
and The Ghost Whisperer. It doesn’t help that the characters
sometimes act illogically adding to the lack of credibility
in such scenes.
On the other hand, it also wants to be a black comedy about
the Generation Z but its attempts to mine their psychological
terrain are scattershot. There are occasional sparks but they
never really reach dizzying heights because of the wayward
plot. One subplot stands out. It shows the lengths an indie
band will go to gain notoriety. Headed by a goth-looking Adam
Brody, the band has to sacrifice a virgin to the devil in
exchange for instant fame. And the 'virgin' they’ve
selected is vavavoom Jennifer. Unfortunately, Jennifer is
not who she appears to be and she resurrects as an accursed
succubus, who feasts on human flesh and blood. As the body
count mounts, the local community seeks solace from the songs
of Brody’s band, resulting in their burgeoning popularity.
This dialectical relation is compelling but it is conveniently
shoved aside for other priorities.
The central relationship between Jennifer and Needy is also
a potentially fascinating aspect of the movie but it is superficially
treated and lacks credibility. We’re given a glimpse
of the complex entanglement of the pair’s forbidden
desires and unspoken envy. Yet, the movie doesn’t unravel
Much of the relationship’s credibility is spoilt by
the lack of chemistry between Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox.
I never for once believe that a vamp like Jennifer would stick
with the insecure Needy (can it get any more obvious than
that?). It’s also hard to buy into the fact that they
are best friends simply because they are tied together by
the incomprehensible truce of 'sandbox love', another eloquent
Cody jargon. The 'black and white' scene, where we see Jennifer
and Needy as toddlers, attempts to clarify the pair’s
inseparableness, but ends up being nothing more than a Kodak
moment. It is cliché, cursory and sticks out like a
If only Cody had spent less time inventing self-referential
wisecracks and paid more attention to make the relationship
As if this isn’t underwhelming enough, Cody introduces
a lesbian scene that has no depth and complicates the already
under explained relationship between Jennifer and Needy. Gratuitously
shot with lingering close-ups that exploit Megan Fox’s
tongue, it exists solely to indulge twisted male fantasies.
One wonders how Jennifer’s Body will turn out if it
had been placed in the directorial hands of satirical master,
Alexander Payne, who made the adept black comedy Election.
a movie that features teenagers talking way smarter than they
ought to, Jennifer’s Body is surprisingly mostly quite
dumb. Yet, I must admit I was thoroughly entertained by it.
Perhaps if Cody’s subsequent screenwriting attempts
fail, she might consider writing a dictionary of fusion words
and hip slang (May I suggest the title "Cody UnCoded").
At least it will earn her royalties that pole dancing won’t.
Body largely belongs to the morgue, but its few satirical
sparks and amusing (if preposterous) Cody-speak breathe some
life into it.
Review by Adrian Sim